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By Jess Fenton
14th April 2013

Robert Redford’s career as a film director has been patchy to say the least. One minute he delivers deep, painfully beautiful features such as ‘Quiz Show’ and ‘The Horse Whisperer’, the next you’ve got off-the-mark films like ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ -and now we can add ‘The Company You Keep’ to that unfortunate list. Redford picks great stories to direct, but his problem is that he’s not a great storyteller - good, but not great. One thing’s for sure, he's an actor’s director with an impressive list of friends to call upon. This becomes evident when each scene of his latest film is filled with big names in small roles.

In the present day, Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) is caught by the FBI on her way to turning herself in for the murder of a security officer 30 years earlier. Sharon was a member of a radical activist group known as the Weather Underground. Her capture opens up a very large can of worms, forcing fellow group member Nick Sloan (Robert Redford) to once again go on the run to prove his innocence after a young journalist, Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) publicly uncovers his identity.


In a multilayered story such as this, spanning 30 years, Redford’s eyes were much bigger than his stomach. There are simply too many players and angles in this espionage thriller, with far too many questions than answers, and not in a good way. Choppy editing at the back end of the film suggests massive chunks were cut, resulting in its patchy and questionable conclusion.

Supported far too heavily by a top-notch ensemble cast including Brendan Gleeson, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick and Brit Marling, the film still ends up lesser than the sum of its parts. Losing a large chunk of the story’s steam less than half way through by pulling focus from LaBeouf, the film’s strongest player, and placing it on Redford’s weak and flimsy thread, your attention wanes right at the point where you need it the most to keep up with all the plot holes and questions provoked.

RELEASE DATE: 18/04/2013
RUN TIME: 2h 5m
CAST: Robert Redford - Jim Grant
Shia Labeouf - Ben Shepard
Anna Kendrick - Diana
Julie Christie - Mimi Lurie
Sam Elliott - Mac McLeod
Stanley Tucci - Ray Fuller
Nick Nolte - Donal
Susan Sarandon - Sharon Solarz
DIRECTOR: Robert Redford
WRITER: Lem Dobbs
PRODUCERS: Nicholas Chartier
Bill Holderman
Robert Redford
SCORE: Cliff Martinez
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